Our Europe Trip 2016

Bonjour~

SO we went to Europe for 2 weeks in May 2016 and stopped by London, Brussels, Ghent, Amsterdam, Paris, and New York. It was a very fun trip with a lot of rain, arts, history, and good foods. Let’s re-live some of our trip with the video and pictures below.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Bay seasoning our FISH and CHIPS

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FISH & CHIPS at Borough Market, London. As a matter of fact, we were hella full when we got to the market but decided to push it down our throat. They fried the whole fish and it turned out pretty delicious.

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Eddie walking around inside the British Museum

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Eddie absorbing all the Gothic energy inside the church. It was dark mang!

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Stumbled into the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral on our way to the Grand-Place

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manneken decided to pee on Eddie. Hail the good vibe.

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Eddie eating his 3rd Belgium Waffle of the day. Speaking of being a responsible tourist.

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Bay deciding whether to order the cold salmon or the mediocre duck at the cafe inside the Westminster Abbey

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Bay with Ben

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Bay in front of some people

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Bay versus the Westminster Abbey. Bay win.

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Sleepy dog can’t wait to go home to take his afternoon nap

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Bay’s world turned black and white

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Bay at Borough Market, London

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Bay tries Truffle oil

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Bay tries grilled scallop

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Bay with that popular phone booth. Ehh?

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Eddie’s turn to try the unlimited truffle oil.

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Some New Yorker made it to the market

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Bay on the beautiful bridge

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Bay in front of Tower of London

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Bay in front of that Harry Potter castle looking thing castle in Ghent

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Oh Ghent……The good vibe..

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Bay on a castle. Ghent style!

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Bay is all over Brooklyn

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Eddie is not impressed the soda doesn’t have any kale in it

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Eddie in front of Shakespeare Globe

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Bay in front of Arc de Triomphe

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Eddie’s fake smile landed in New York

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Hiding behind the biker.

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Walking around Paris like nobody’s business

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Everything align in Paris

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Bay posing in front of Eiffel Tower with her new conquest

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Eddie taking picture of locks

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Eddie eavedropping the tour guide behind him, who was briefing her tour group some fascinating speculation about the painting.

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Eddie taking it all in. Literally.

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Eddie in front of the Pyramind, Louvre.

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It’s raining. Bay is mad coz Eddie is taking his sweet time to take the picture.

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Eddie feeling the good vibe at the Palace of Versailles

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Bay loves the purple and gold

 

DIY: Tile Photo Coasters

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Since we’ve moved into our condo about a year ago, we’ve been searching for fun drink coasters for our home. Majority of our furniture have white surfaces so it’s a pain to constantly wipe off water marks from our counters. We could not find anything that we liked for various reasons: style, price, size, price, price, price. The ones we loved from Anthropologie are too expensive. We didn’t want to pay $5 or more each for one coaster regardless of how cute and pretty they are. If you want to get a set of four, that’s already $20 minimum. Not worth it in our book.

Next best thing: Pinterest DIY. We found this really great post on how to create Polaroid Inspired Tile Coasters.  We immediately went to get the materials and started our own DIY version of the coasters.

Supplies we used:

  • 4 white Ceramic Tiles ($0.89 at Home Depot)
  • 4 photos printed from Walmart  (glossy)
  • Mod Podge (glossy)
  • Sponge Brush ($0.77 at Home Depot)
  • Clear Acrylic Spray (Rus-Oleum Ultra Cover Gloss Clear)
  • 4 Cork Board squares
  • 1 pair of Scisscor
  • 1 piece of Sand Paper  (220 Grit Fine)

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Step 1: Cut the photos so that it will be a little bit smaller than the tile squares.

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Step 2: Use sand paper to sand the surface of the tiles. This will make the photos adhere better with the tiles.

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Step 3: Using your foam brush, brush on a layer of Mod Podge to the back of the photos.

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Step 4: Place your photo on top of the tile. Press down with your hands. Be careful not to let the photo slide off the tile. Adjust the photo position by pushing the photo with your fingers. Use a plastic card to swipe away any bubbles underneath the photo.

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Step 5: Let it dry for about 30 minutes.

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Step 6: Using your foam brush to apply the Mod Podge over the tiles including top of the photos. The glue will apply white but will dry clear. Apply the glue evenly across (left- right) and repeat the application down (up-down). Apply extra to the sides of the photo to prevent lifting later on as it dries.

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Step 7: Wait for the tiles to dry (60 minutes +) and repeat step 6. You can always apply it a third time after your tile dries to really make sure the photos are glued tight on the tile.

Step 8: After you apply the final coat of Mod Podge, let your tiles dry for a few hours. We left ours to dry overnight and continue working on the project the next day. Drying time is really important. Otherwise your coasters will be sticky, the photos will lift or be damaged by the pressure of the cups.

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Step 9: After your tiles are dry it still may feel a little tacky on top. Spray the acrylic sealant across the tiles in a slow left-right motion so that it completely covers the tile. Set it on a counter and let it dry for 30 minutes. Repeat the spray application 2-3 times to really ensure your coasters will be water proof. Make sure to do this in a well ventilated area. The chemicals smell pretty nasty.

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Step 10: Let your tile coasters dry for at least 72 hours before using them. We left ours alone for a week. We’ve had bad experiences in the past being too impatient with paint so we’re going to give the sealant plenty of time to dry.

Step 11: Glue square pieces of cork board sheets on the back of the tile. This is to ensure your coasters will not scratch your counters. You can use hot glue gun or you can use small adhesive stickers to glue the board to your tile. Both works well.

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Alright ladies and gents, the moment you’ve been working for. Here are the final results! We’re beyond happy with how these coasters turn out. We’ve got big plans for DIY coasters for future holiday presents. Not only are they easy to make, they’re personable, affordable and one of a kind. Definitely worth a try!

 

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We hope you enjoy this DIY post as much as we liked writing it. Please share it with your friends if you like what you see. Let us know how your DIY coasters turn out and follow us for more DIY projects in the future.

Peace and Love!

 

 

Salmon & Yellowtail Poké Bowl

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If you guys have read our blog in the past, you will probably know that we LOVE Poké bowls. We’ve been on the hunt for good Poké places in Orange County and couldn’t find a restaurant that has good Poké and is within a 10 mile radius from our house. So one weekend, while strolling down the fish aisle in our local Korean grocery store market, we picked up some sushi grade fish and decided to try making our own Poké bowls with the help of our friends (Google Search and Pinterest).

Our first attempt was a SUCCESS!!! Not only did it taste perfectly to our liking but the fish to rice to salad ratio is incomparable to the Poké bowls we have outside. As in, our ratio is so much better because we added as much fish as we wanted without feeling slightly guilty of the price tag.

Okay, okay. Less talk, more food. Here are the step by steps to  our homemade Poké bowl.

Servings: 2 people          Prep Time: 30 minutes             Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cooked Rice
  • 1 piece of Salmon – sushi grade
  • 1 piece of Yellowtail – sushi grade
  • 2 cups of Lettuce (or pre-washed spring mix salad)
  • 1 ripe Avocado
  • 3 tablespoon of Masago (fish caviar)
  • 1/2 cup of diced Pineapple slices
  • 2 stalks of Green Onions – chopped into small pieces
  • 1.5 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of Sugar
  • 1 table spoon of Sesame Oil
  • Wasabi (however much you can take)

Step 1: Wash your fish & dry with paper towel. Cut your fish into small square pieces. Place them together in a bowl.

Step 2: Whip out your soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Pour them on the diced fish. Add masago and chopped green onions. Mix well with spoon. Place into the fridge and let it marinate for about 20 mins while you cook your rice.

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Step 3: Cook your rice. Set it for “Quick Cooking” because ain’t nobody got an hour to wait for cooked rice.  If you don’t have a rice cooker, here’s a link on how to cook rice on your stove-top. The video in the link says to use salt. For this recipe, skip the salt since you will be mixing the rice with the marinated fish later on.

You can also skip the rice and only use lettuce/spring mix salad if you’re looking for a low-carb option.

Step 4: Once your rice is cooked, get out your other ingredients for plating. Here we have our diced pineapples, chopped green onions and chopped lettuce. We forgot to include diced avocado in this picture, but you guys get the idea.

Step 5: Putting it all together however way you like it. Don’t forget to add the Wasabi. Wasabi helps to kill any bacteria and makes this dish safer for you to eat. Here’s how we did it:

Step 6: Take spoon, scoop, bring to mouth, open mouth, place food inside mouth, EAT!

We like to mix the Poké bowl prior to digging in. It blends all the ingredients together so each bite has a little bit of everything. But hey, you can eat it however way you want because YOU’RE THE BOSS!

You can find all of the ingredients in your local Asian grocery store.There’s always a risk for consuming raw foods so please make sure to pick up sushi grade fish instead of regular fish filets/steaks. Sushi grade fish are of a higher quality and are cut from the areas of the fish where it’s okay to eat it raw. If you’re still a little nervous about picking up sushi grade fish, here’s a great blog post about how to select sushi grade fish from thekitchn.com.

We really enjoyed our homemade Poké bowl. It’s so quick and simple to put together. There are also many ways of enjoying your Poké. We had extra Poké left over to eat with tortilla chips. You can also take all of your ingredients and wrap them into a Poké burrito with a large sheet of seaweed.

Have fun trying this recipe and leave a comment below to let us know how it turned out.

“Happi” eating!

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Eddie makes beautiful food

Bonjour!

So it all happened in the morning of this past Valentine’s day. I wanted to impress Bay by making her chocolate-covered strawberries for the special day. However, I didn’t wanna look like a dork and tell her I was going to make her the dessert so I told her I was going to get the ingredients for breakfast instead. Just a regular breakfast. You know, the casual-not-trying-too-hard style. So off I went headed to the Trader Joe’s 10 minutes away from our place. While I was driving I thought I might as well get the ingredients for breakfast as well. We can’t just eat chocolate-covered strawberries for breakfast. Then this bread bowl recipe that I recently saw came knocking in my mind. Literally.

Then this happened after some random ingredients that I picked up:

Ed’s breakfast bread bowl

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20 minutes later…

I mean, okay, it probably doesn’t look too good right now.

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But Dudeeeeee…………..

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SHE LOVED ITTTTTTTT!!!!!IMG_5522IMG_5525

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Chocolate-covered strawberries

So this is the dessert!

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Eddie makes beautiful foods was a success.

Bon Appetit!

How We Created Our Indoor Puppy Den

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Here are a few items you’ll need to create this space for your puppy. Watch our video below for more details (plus watch Luna play).

  • Doggy Crate – PetSmart: Check the different crate sizes to make sure your pup can fit comfortably inside – laying down and standing up.
  • Plush Throw: I got mine from Target at the Bargain section at the front of the store. You can get any plush throws anywhere. Click on the “Plush Throw” link to find ones from Walmart under $10.
  • EKBY OSTEN Shelf – IKEA: I picked the white wall shelf from IKEA but they have many different shelf sizes and selections to choose from.
  • EKBY VALTER Shelf Bracket – IKEA: I picked a black shelf bracket to go with the rest of the black and white theme of Luna’s den. There are many different bracket selections to choose from on their website and in-stores as well.
  • HEMMINGSBO Picture Frame – IKEA: These frames are under $5. Buy as many as you’d like to decorate your wall space.
  • TJUSIG Wall/Door Rack – IKEA: This white minimal wall/door rack is perfect to hang your puppy’s leash, bags and etc.
  • Teddy Bear Planter – DAISO JAPAN: cute little planters can be used to store your doggy chew sticks. Purchase a set online or purchase in-store for $1.50.

 

 

Harsh Realities Every Teenager Must Face Going Into Adulthood

Saw this topic posted on Reddit the other day and the funny thing is, I just had a similar discussion with my teenage sister not too long ago. I though I’d share with you some key points of our discussion and maybe this will help you on your journey.

Reality #1: The 5 transitional years between becoming a teenager to becoming an adult (legally) can be some of the most socially awkward, emotional, confusing, frustrating years of your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the cool kids or the class clown, every teenager will go through this. Like the Kelly Clarkson song, “What doesn’t kill you makes you strong”, you’re going to grow and learn a lot from these awkward, emotional, confusing, and frustrating experiences. These years will mold you into the adult that you’ll one day be.

Reality #2: Your high school sweetheart…there’s a good chance he/she will not be the person you marry and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s hard to figure out what you want in life, career, partner when you’re in high school. Some people get lucky and find their “one”. Most of us think we found “someone” but they’re definitely not the “one”. As you grow up, meet new people, make new relationships, leave relationships, you’ll learn more about yourself. You’ll know what kind of person you don’t want to be with, the kind of person you want to be with and what kind of life you want with that person. Listen to your mom and dad. Have fun. Be safe. Enjoy getting to know yourself first!

Reality #3: Mom and Dad will not be able to bail you out of sucky situations for the rest of your life. Sometimes because they don’t want to. Sometimes because they can’t. Think it’s fun to egg your neighbor’s house at night? Remember the Justin Bieber incident? Yup, it’s a crime. That’s why parents spend so much time teaching you how to be a responsible person so that you’ll be able to make good decisions in the future and know how to handle difficult situations. Know at the end of the day, you make your own choices on how to live your life. But remember that you’ll also have to live with the aftermath of your choices as well.

Reality #4: You may STILL not know what you want to do or who you want to be WAY after college graduation.and that’s perfectly okay. It takes time to know what you want and it takes even more time to go after it! I know you may think you need to figure it all out once you’re 21 years old.  I honestly did not know what I wanted to do at 21 years old. The best way to figure it out is to be open to opportunities, allow yourself to make mistakes, learn from them and absorb as much as you can.

Reality #5: The best way out is always through. Life is hard, easy, fun, sad, tiring, exciting, and etc. There will always be highs and lows. You just need to focus on your short term-long term goals, know that the lows will only be temporary. You can do it! Power through it! Surround yourself with positive people who will help you achieve your goals. Be the best version of you that you can be and let the universe take care of the rest.

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Top 9 Vday Gifts for Him, Her & Your Furry Friend

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Are you still trying to come up with a gift idea to give to your S.O.? We can help! Eddie and I each picked out 5 Vday gifts (a total of  10 gifts) we’d think will be great for the loves of you life. Check them out below:

Eddie’s Picks for Her

#1. Morse Code “LOVE” necklace – If you are thinking of getting a necklace for your girlfriend or wife for this Valentine’s, consider looking into the Morse Code “LOVE” necklace. I personally think it’s a cute necklace and it comes with Turquoise stones and gold bronze beads. The coolest thing about this necklace is that the gemstones with the 14K Gold Beads are combined to spell out “LOVE” in Morse Code. Now if you are going to get a necklace might as well get a cool one.

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Morse Code “LOVE” necklace  @ Huckberry

#2. Kindle Touch with a Kindle ebook (Go Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee) – If your girlfriend or wife likes to read and currently doesn’t own a Kindle this will seriously make a great gift. She can easily store all her favorite books on the Kindle and go through them one at a time, or several if that’s how she likes it. This is also perfect if she travels frequently. Instead of bringing physical books that take up the suitcase spaces she only needs to bring her Kindle. As for the book itself, it can literally be anything. I put ‘Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee’ is because this is one of the books that I am planning to read next.

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Kindle Touch @ Amazon. ‘Go Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee’ @ Amazon

#3. Fitbit Flex Activity Tracker – This makes a great gift if your girlfriend or wife likes to exercise, or is someone who cares enough about her well being. This tiny tracker tells you how many steps you have taken; how many calories you have burned; how many miles you have walked; and your sleeping quality. This fun little device somehow can motivate you to be more active and to take more steps on a daily basis. Great gift for her and even better if you have one so you guys can compete and workout together.

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Fitbit Flex Activity Tracker @ Amazon

Bay’s Picks for Him

#1. Personalized Docking Station – I think this is a great gift for your “techy” boyfriend (or fiancé or husband). Not only is this docking station stylish, it will also help your man keep all of his small items organized. Plus you can customize your own message on the dock making the gift one of a kind.

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Personalized Docking Station @ Esty Shop Wudzeedotcom

#2. Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffle Bag – If you made a New Years Resolution this year to travel more with your boyfriend, this is the great gift for him. Write him a Vday card to let him know how excited you are to go on more adventures with him and put it inside this Duffle Bag. It’s thoughtful AND practical.

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Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffle Bag @ Amazon.com 

#3. R2D2 USB Car Charger  – This gift will probably win you the “coolest girlfriend” or “coolest wife” award. For the women or men who have S.O. who are obsessed with Star Wars, what better way to fulfill their Star Wars fantasy than to give them their own R2D2? This R2D2 car charger has 2 USB slots so you can charge multiple phones are once. Did I mention the head spins just like how it does in the movie?

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R2D2 USB Car Charger @ ThinkGeek.com 

Our Picks for the Furry Friend

#1. Heart ‘n Bears Plush Dog Toy – This cute little plush toy set will keep your puppy occupied for some time. The little pink bears are super cute and the heart plush shows your pup how much you love him/her. Okay, they probably don’t know what Valentine’s Day is but they’ll love the toy.

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Hearts ‘n Bears Plush Dog Toy @ Puplife.com

#2. Bark Box – What better way to tell your dog you love him/her than to provide a box of goodies every month. Ranging from $19 to $29 per month, Bark Box provides treats, toys, and chews in each box every month. Items are provided based upon you dog’s size. Shipping is free and you can cancel anytime. Start with a 3 months plan, try it and show your puppy some love.

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Bark Box @ Barkbox.com

#3. Doggie Massage – Our puppy tends to get leg cramps when she runs too hard. Sometimes during a game of catch, she would start limping and hopping on one feet. Dogs, like humans, can benefit from massage sessions. You can either give massage to your own pups or you can take them to a professional doggy massage parlor for some pamper and relaxation. Modern Dog Magazine has a great article that teaches you how to massage your dog. Check it out and let us know if your pup enjoys it.

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Photo from Dealbreaker.com

Poke (pok-eh) Date @ The Lab – Costa Mesa

Eddie and I always make sure to go on dates at least once a week to keep life fresh and our dates are usually initiated by the question, “Where do you want to grab lunch?”. This day was no different. Sunday morning, we had the luxury of waking up later than usual. First thing on our mind was food. We checked Yelp to see where we can go eat and decided on driving up to The Lab in Costa Mesa to check out this poke restaurant called Calipoke.

For those who’ve never had poke, let us give you a brief description of what it is, curtesy of Wikipedia: “Poke /pˈk/ is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. Pokē is the Hawaiian verb for “section” or “to slice or cut”. Ahi poke is generally made with yellowfin tuna but in modern poke recipes raw salmon, smoked octopus, to various shell fish and generally any bite size appetizer seasoned with the common “poke” seasonings can be considered Poke.

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Calipoke did not disappoint. The entire experience was pleasant and tasty. The restaurant serves their customers in a “Chipotle” fashion where you line up and tell your sever what you want in your poke bowl. For $11.95 you can have a big bowl of poke with 5 scoops of fish, or $8.95 for a small bowl with 3 scoops of fish. You can choose a base of rice or brown rice if you want carbs, salad if you don’t, 2 kinds of additional sides, 6 different kinds of sauces and 8 different kinds of toppings including crab meat, avocado, seaweed, fried onions and more. Are you hungry now?

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At the end of the line, we were beaming like two Pokemon masters who’ve just created their poke bowl masterpieces. And they look a little something like this. (Warning: unexpected drooling may occur when looking at the pictures below.)

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The fish was fresh. The rice was sticky and sweet. The ginger offered the right amount of balance. We cannot express our excitement to have found a good poke place in Orange County. Seriously. This is Asian food gold mine. After finishing our poke meals, we decided to walk around The Lab and window shop. This hipster shopping plaza is such a relaxing place to have a quiet date, hangout and to look around. We always find interesting things here that we don’t usually see in other parts of Orange County. Below are only a few of the many interesting things we found there.

  • Cute, shiny metallic trailers are a thing there. We saw three little stores (one sells baby clothes, one sells jewelry and one sells vinyl albums) that are set up in a shiny old fashion trailer. This set up somehow made their products more appealing. I had the sudden urge to purchase a bunch of baby clothes even though we don’t have any kids of our own yet.

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  • You can find small elements of your childhood there. We saw a colorful hop scotch area near the back parking lot. There were giant swing benches for people to sit and hang out. We can totally see ourselves chilling on the swing on a slow day, read a book, listen to music on our phones and enjoy the day.

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  • This is a great place for fashion bloggers to come and take pictures for their social media accounts. Eddie volunteered to be a model to demonstrate how to be a cool fashion blogger in front of these colorful wall panels. (The jacket is from Uniqlo, t-shirt from HM, pants are from Uniqlo and shoes from Nike). He’s now officially a fashion blogger. Good job, honey.

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No date is complete without dessert. We headed to the well known coffee/tea drink station, Milk & Honey, for something sweet. Not only are they known for their delicious drinks, they’re also well known for their shaved ice. We ordered the Spanish Latte (iced) and their signature M&H Shaved Ice. It was a chilly day (for Southern California) but the tasty drink and shaved ice dessert were totally worth it. They also have the most adorable outdoor seating area which we didn’t get the chance to take pictures of. Check it out for yourself to see why we love that place.

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So that’s it. Our simple Sunday Poke Date at The Lab. Dating doesn’t have to be complicated. Dating after getting married doesn’t have to be complicated. All you have to do is get a good night’s sleep, wake up, ask “honey, what do you want to eat today?” and let the rest of the day unfold.

 

5 Tips on how to have a productive week

Productivity

Life is crazy. There’s always something going on. Work, school, friends, family, pets, kids, vacations, the list goes on and on. We try to do it all: multitask, delegate our responsibilities to our family, pet sitters, baby sisters. But it still can be pretty difficult for us to focus. Here are 5 tips that helps us focus to have a productive week:

# 1. Put your phone on airplane mode 30 minutes before you sleep.

We are guilty of being super attached to our phones. Our last activity of the day would be watching YouTube videos before turning off the lights to go to bed. Bad bad bad habit and it’s a habit we’re trying to break. By turning our phones on airplane mode 30 minutes before bed time gives us the opportunity to connect and talk to each other about our days. We talk about interesting things we saw, heard, learned. We share our goals for the week. We plan our weekends together. That 30 minutes each night not only help to strengthen our relationship but it also calms us and prepare us for a good night sleep. Better sleep can help you focus during the day.

# 2. Plan your weekly outfits and breakfasts on Sundays.

Mornings are the most hectic part of our day. We wake up. Wake our puppy up. Make sure she goes to the bathroom. Make sure she has clean water and fresh kibbles to eat for breakfast. Brush teeth. Wash face. Makeup. Play with puppy. Find clothes to wear. Make breakfast. Get our work bags ready. Find something to distract our puppy while we slip quietly out the door. Head to work. This whole process takes about 1 hr to 1.5hrs every morning. It will get even more hectic when we have kids of our own.

By planning our weekly outfits and breakfast on Sundays, it takes away the stress of putting it together while we’re trying to do a million other things AND trying to not be late for work. You can have a clothing rack in your room and hang all of your planned outfits from Monday through Friday. Each morning, you simply pick a set of clothing from the rack and move on with your day. For breakfast, try the mason jar breakfast method. Pack all of your breakfast into mason jars for Monday through Friday and set them in the fridge. Every morning, you can grab and eat it at home or you can grab and go to work.

Even if planning your outfits and your breakfast ahead of time does not save you too much time from your morning routine it will definitely save you a lot of stress. Less stress equals a happier you and gives you a great start each day to have a productive week.

# 3. Make appointments with your social media.

We have a love and hate relationship with all of our social medias. It’s great to use those platforms to connect with your friends, get ideas, plan events but let’s be honest, it’s super addictive and can become a total distraction. If you’re a virtual social butterfly like us, you don’t have to unplug completely. Simply make an appointment with your social media! In other words, set specific times during the day where you can splurge your time to check your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. You can set little alarms on your phone to let you know when it’s time to connect and when it’s time to disconnect.

# 4. Make daily to-do lists. Review, implement and check it off. 

To-do lists are the best way to keep organized and focused no matter if you’re a student, a working professional or just a regular person trying to get stuff done. We like to make our to-do list for the next day the night before so that it’s fresh in our memories the next morning and we know exactly what we have to do.

Include events and meetings in your to-do list to remind you of places you have to go. By writing down the meetings we have to attend the next day, it gives us the peace of mind to know the time and place ahead of time so that we’re not the last one to walk into the meeting. Or worse, walking late into a meeting.

# 5. Take a walk (and leave your phone in your bag/back pocket).

We really enjoy taking walks in the evening after dinner. It gives us a chance to relax, get some exercise, get our puppy some exercise and it’s another great moment for us to connect and talk. Since our walks are usually a few hours before bed time, we would have more engaging and exciting discussions during that time. We’d discuss current events and celebrity gossip, we’d debate, we’d  throw around ideas for this blog, we’d train our puppy and etc. Our energy is high, we speak loudly, we laugh, we release a lot of the stress we gathered throughout the day and we simply have fun. It’s a great way for us to reset and re-energize for the next day.

That’s our top 5 list. Give it a try and let us know how they worked for you. We’d LOVE to hear some tips from you as well. Please share and comment below!

Hangry for Japanese Ramen

If you happen to be in the Torrance, California area, stop by Ramen Yamadaya for lunch or dinner. It’s a little ramen gem outside of Los Angeles and Culver City area. Located in a small corner plaza by the 405 freeway, the ramen shop can be easily spotted. Parking is limited but we got lucky and parked right in front of the restaurant. There were 4 other parties ahead of us. We had to put our name on the waiting list.

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The restaurant has a nice little tea table set up outside so their waiting guests can have a drink of tea while they wait. 15-20 minutes later, they called our names and it was time to grub.

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The inside of the ramen shop is pretty small but clean. We didn’t have to wait long before the server addressed us. The menu was easy to read and it covered all of your basic ramen needs: different styles of ramen, lots of available sides, combination meals, desserts, Japanese drinks, etc. There are lots of review and food pictures on Yelp to help us pick our dinner.

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I ordered the Original Pork Broth Ramen – Yamayada style. Eddie ordered the Shuyo Ramen – Regular combo with Fried Rice and salad. Here’s what we think of the food from each of us.

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Original Pork Broth Ramen – Yamayada Style: I really like the ramen I ordered. I thought the noodles were perfect. It was cooked thoroughly but it had the right amount of chewiness. The broth was a little salty but it gave the noodles lots of flavor. The other ingredients in the ramen were generously provided. It had plenty of bamboo shoots, a whole egg cut in half (I wish the yolk would have been more runny), green onions, garlic, sea weed, and pork. Oh yes, the pork. You can tell they’ve been cooking the meat for a long time. The meat is still solid so you can pick it up with your chopstick but when you bite into it, melts like butter. I prefer this place over my husband’s favorite ramen joint, Daikokuya. Everything tasted very fresh and on point. The whole restaurant experience is better for me (short wait time, they offer you tea while you wait, the food was good, etc).

The portion was good enough for me. I didn’t feel like I needed to order extra sides. Some places are not as generous with the amount of ingredients they put in the bowl of ramen but I feel like this shop really wanted their customers to be happy and satisfied with their dining experience. I was indeed a happy customer when I walked out of the restaurant. I would definitely go back!

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Shuyo Ramen – Regular combo with Fried Rice and Salad: I think it’s a solid ramen dish and it comes with everything a decent bowl of ramen should come with, for instance, very good piece of Cha-Su, lots of bamboo shoots, green onions, egg, seaweed, tasty broth (maybe a little too thick), and noodle that was cooked right (I still prefer Daikokuya’s curly noodle though). It almost had everything done right. However, the main problem I had with their ramen is that it simply didn’t stand out to me. They were good but just didn’t leave a taste in my mouth so good that I will have to go back. I know I sounds like a hater here. I will still eat there if I happen to be in town and crave ramen. I just probably wouldn’t drive all the way from Orange County for their ramen like I would do for Daikokuya.

On the other hand, the fried rice from the combo I picked was top notch. It came in a very generous portion and it was really tasty. It came with a lot of meats. It can be a little salty to some people but the ginger that it came with helped balanced out the flavor. I definitely recommend getting the combo with the fried rice if you happen to eat at this place.

Salad was standard. A regular salad with the miso dressing.

Conclusion: At the end of the day, everyone have their own food (ramen) preference. However, we both agree that if you’re living around the Torrance area or if you’re driving by Crenshaw Blvd off the 405 Fwy. Ramen Yamadaya is a good place to stop for a nice, hot bowl of ramen. Easy and tasty – just how we like it.

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